safety it would have been the part of prudence to encamp in buildings along the route, if to be found convenient, or, if not, in the woods, which are accessible at almost any point between Swan Lake and Fort Ridgely. It is really distressing to learn that men are to suffer the loss of limbs for the lack of proper precaution in so short a march. General Sibley hopes to learn that the suffering has been exaggerated so far as the threatened loss of the legs of two men is concerned.
If there is not sufficient transportation at Fort Ridgely to subserve the wants of the garrison, the proper requisition should at once be made by the assistant quartermaster upon the chief quartermaster of the district, especially as the garrison will be increased by the addition of Companies E and H, of Sixth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteers, and Company C, Second Minnesota Cavalry. Measures should be taken to have the quarters, &c., in readiness, and the brigadier-general commanding confides in your well-known judgment and energy to make all requisite arrangements for the comfort of the increased command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. OLIN,
NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 7, 1864.
[Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:]
GENERAL: Captain Ramsay, commanding the gun-boat squadron at the month of Red River, is of opinion that the rebel force lately occupying the peninsula between the Mississippi (old) river and the Atchafalaya numbered 12,000 men. That force has since withdrawn to the west bank of the Atchafalaya, owing probably to the threatened rise of the Red and Atchafalaya and the consequent danger of the gun-boats getting in their rear. He has information that the enemy is fortifying at the junction of Bayou Yellow and Bayou De Glaize about 1 miles west of the Atchafalaya; that Fort De Russy is being put in a state of defense and having guns mounted in it; that the rebels are constructing another raft across Red River at point lower that occupied by the former raft, and that the first pile for the river obstruction was driven on Christmas day upon the withdrawal of the rebels to the west of the Atchafalaya. The battery which they had stationed at Morganza was taken with them, and at present they have only a picket of some half dozen mounted men near the Mississippi to observe the movements of our fleet and transports. During my stay with Captain Ramsay I heard his examination of a deserter from this picket, which confirmed most of the items of information given above. He was asked the strength of the rebel force west of the Mississippi and south of the Red River, and put it at 50,000. He stated that Green's division of two brigades had gone to Texas; that General Taylor was at Alexandria, and Mounton at or near Vermilionville.
During my interview with the commissioners on the part of Major-General Taylor one of them spoke to me of the capture by them at Vermilition Bayou of a person apparently engaged in taking sounding of the bayou near its mount. He gave his name, &c., as